|Publication number||US7413143 B2|
|Application number||US 11/426,848|
|Publication date||Aug 19, 2008|
|Filing date||Jun 27, 2006|
|Priority date||Mar 29, 2004|
|Also published as||US7370832, US7607613, US20050211836, US20060249616, US20080277528|
|Publication number||11426848, 426848, US 7413143 B2, US 7413143B2, US-B2-7413143, US7413143 B2, US7413143B2|
|Inventors||Walter Forrest Frantz, Martin R. Grether, Raymond R. Reed, Douglas W. Hackett|
|Original Assignee||The Boeing Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (49), Referenced by (5), Classifications (9), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This patent application is a divisional application of co-pending, commonly-owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/811,522 entitled “Payload to Support Track Interface and Fitting Apparatus and Methods” filed on Mar. 29, 2004, which application is incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates generally to apparatus and methods for coupling payloads to a floor assembly or other support structure, and more specifically, to interface and fitting apparatus and methods for coupling a payload to a support track.
Many aspects of modem commercial aircraft are manufactured in accordance with the particular requirements of the aircraft owner. One such aspect is the arrangement of the passenger seats within the cabin of the aircraft.
The attachment assembly 110 typically includes an interface assembly that performs the actual secure engagement between the seat track 106 and the support member 104. For example,
In operation, the lug member 139 is inserted through one or more of the hole portions 122 of the slot 120 of the engagement member 114, and is then moved longitudinally along the slot 120 to a desired position of pair(s) of lands 124. The seat fitting bolt 138, depending on particular operation, may then be torqued into engagement with the lands 124, drawing the lug member 139 toward the base 132 into contact with the engagement member 114 and clampably securing the interface assembly 130 to the engagement member 114. Thus, the slot 120 and the interface assembly 130 permit the seat member 102 to be selectively positioned at any desired interval along the seat track 106, including, for example, to permit the aircraft owner to control the spacing of the seat members 102 within the aircraft.
Although desirable results have been achieved using the prior art seat assembly 100, there is room for improvement. For example, because the seat fitting bolt 138 of the interface assembly 130 must be precisely torqued during installation, and then inspected each time a seat 102 is installed or moved, the interface assembly 130 is not as economical as desired. Also, the interface assembly 130 may be sensitive, and may require different torque settings for different types of seats. Furthermore, the engagement member 114 of the seat track 106 is expensive to manufacture, particularly alternating holes 122 and lands 124 of the slot 120. Therefore, novel interface apparatus and methods which at least partially mitigate these characteristics would be useful.
The present invention is directed to apparatus and methods for coupling a payload to a support track. Embodiments of apparatus and methods in accordance with the present invention may advantageously provide a more economical way of coupling the seat members and other payloads to the seat tracks that may be less sensitive to torque requirements, and may require less inspection and maintenance, in comparison with prior art interface assemblies. Also, embodiments of seat tracks in accordance with the present invention may be more versatile, reliable, and less expensive to manufacture than prior art seat tracks
In one embodiment, an interface assembly adapted for coupling a support member of a component to an engagement member of a floor assembly includes a base, a support arm, and a lug member. The base is engageable with a first surface of the engagement member and has a pair of clamp arms projecting outwardly therefrom. Each clamp arm is adapted to be disposed through an associated coupling aperture disposed in the engagement member and to be engaged with a second surface of the engagement member. The clamp arms are moveable relative to the engagement member between an unsecured position in which the clamp arms are extractable from the coupling apertures, and a secured position wherein the clamp arms are not extractable from the coupling apertures. The support arm is coupled to the base and to the support member of the component. The lug member is operatively coupled to the base and moveable between a first position wherein the clamp arms are positioned in the unsecured position, and a second position wherein the clamp arms are positioned in the secured position.
In an alternate embodiment, a seat track adapted for use with an interface assembly includes at least one elongated support, and an engagement member coupled to the elongated support and having a plurality of coupling apertures disposed therethrough. Each coupling aperture is adapted to receive a clamp arm of the interface assembly and to be engaged with the clamp arm in an unsecured position wherein the clamp arm is extractable from the coupling aperture, and in a secured position wherein the clamp arm is not extractable from the coupling aperture. The elongated support may include first and second channel members wherein the engagement member is coupled between the first and second channel members. Alternately, the elongated support may include a raised plateau portion (over a structural or other members in a “C”, “J”, “I”, “box” or other configuration), the raised plateau portion being coupled to the engagement member.
Embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings.
The present invention relates to apparatus and methods for coupling a payload to a support track. Many specific details of certain embodiments of the invention are set forth in the following description and in
Generally speaking, embodiments of interface assemblies in accordance with the present invention may provide a simplified, more economical way of coupling the seat members to the seat tracks that may be less sensitive to torque requirements, and may require less inspection and maintenance, in comparison with prior art interface assemblies. Also, embodiments of seat tracks in accordance with the present invention may be more versatile, reliable, and less expensive to manufacture than prior art seat tracks.
With continued reference to
In this embodiment, the fingers 209 of the clamp arms 208 can project towards each other as shown in
In operation, the interface assembly 200 is positioned proximate the engagement plate 214, and the first and second coupling members 204, 206 are initially positioned with the clamp arms 208 spaced apart and aligned with the coupling apertures 216. With the interface assembly 200 located at the desired position along the engagement plate 214, the clamp arms 208 are inserted through the coupling apertures 216. The threaded engagement member 210 is then rotated (e.g. with a common air wrench), causing the clamp arms 208 of the first and second coupling members 204, 206 to move, in this example closer together, thereby clampably securing the interface assembly 200 to the engagement plate 214.
In operation, the interface assembly 350 is positioned proximate the engagement plate 214 in the disengaged position 370 (
Similarly, the seat engagement portion 420 includes a post channel 422 vertically disposed therethrough. An optional securing post 424 seats into a second coupling aperture 216 b. The securing post 424 is securely engaged with the support member 104 of the seat 102, further securing the interface assembly 400 to the engagement plate 214 and with the support member 104. This allows the lug 426 that is captured within channel 422, which connects to support member 104 and is bound to engagement plate 214, to freely float fore or aft when shear forces act on the seat 102.
As best shown and
The installation of the interface assembly 550 is similar to the installation of the interface assembly 350 described above with reference to
As shown in
It will be appreciated that embodiments of apparatus and methods in accordance with the present invention may be specifically designed to meet the requirements of particular applications and circumstances. For example, the embodiments of interface assemblies shown in
As mentioned above, embodiments of interface assemblies in accordance with the present disclosure may be coupled to the conventional seat track 106 (described above with reference to
As shown in
Similarly, in a first (or unsecured) position 794, the double-clamp arm interface assembly 780 is inserted into the central portions 758 of the coupling apertures 756 b, 756 c. Next, in a second (or secured) position 796, the double-clamp arm interface assembly 780 is moved into the end portions 760 of the coupling apertures 756 b, 756 c. A plug is then activated (e.g., lowered via a hinge device) into an aft aperture exposed by the movement to lock the arm into its new and secured position, thereby securing the double-clamp arm interface assembly 780 to the engagement plate 750.
Embodiments of apparatus and methods in accordance with the present invention may provide significant advantages over the prior art. For example, interface assemblies in accordance with the present invention may be more robust and more easily installed and removed in comparison with the prior art assemblies. The need for precisely controlled torques and inspections each time a seat or other payload is installed or moved, may therefore be reduced or eliminated. Also, embodiments of interface assemblies may be more universal and compatible with a wider variety of different types of seats, thereby improving the standardization of the installation process. These factors may advantageously reduce the labor and expense associated with the installation and removal of the seats or other aircraft components.
In addition, embodiments of seat tracks in accordance with the present invention may provide significant advantages over prior art seat tracks. For example, seat tracks in accordance with the present invention may be lighter and less expensive to manufacture than prior art seat tracks, particularly those seat tracks having alternating holes and lands. Furthermore, embodiments of seat tracks in accordance with the present invention may provide improved flexibility in comparison with prior art seat tracks, providing a more standard interface that allows for payloads to be bolted or pinned in a wider variety of positions, and enables adjustability of the position of the seats or other payloads or components to a higher degree of precision.
Embodiments of apparatus and methods in accordance with the present invention may be used to secure a variety of components to a flooring assembly of an aircraft (or other vehicle or structure), including passenger seating, galleys, lavatories, fireplaces, shelving, beds, furniture, and any other desired components. In addition, embodiment of interface assemblies and seat tracks in accordance with the present invention may be used to secure dividing devices (or partitions) within the passenger cabin, as generally disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,393,013 issued to Schneider et al., and to secure cargo containers as generally disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,639 issued to Miller et al.
More specifically, as shown in
Although the aircraft 800 shown in
While preferred and alternate embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of these preferred and alternate embodiments. Instead, the invention should be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.
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|U.S. Classification||244/118.6, 248/429, 244/137.2|
|International Classification||B64D11/06, B64C1/20|
|Cooperative Classification||B64D11/0696, B64C1/20|
|European Classification||B64C1/20, B64D11/06D|